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Dublin: 5°C Monday 24 January 2022

Who will you vote for in the next election?

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

How we’re in election mode.

Oireachtas Christmas Trees Gerry Adams and Enda Kenny Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Despite regular assurances from the government that the next General Election is at least a year away, TDs and prospective TDs of all parties and none are firmly in GE mode.

Fine Gael and Labour held their national conferences over the past two weekends, while Sinn Féin is set to take centre stage in Derry later this week. Fianna Fáil’s Ard Fheis will be happening at the end of April.

Pressure has mounted on Enda Kenny to debate Gerry Adams and Micheál Martin. And, just today, Tánaiste Joan Burton challenged Adams to a one-to-one debate in the Irish Independent.

With several TDs ruling out and ruling in every potential coalition arrangement under the sun, all eyes are firmly on the prize of making up the next government.

Labour - 68th National Conference. Pic Joan Burton catching up on, er, Joan Burton Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Will Fine Gael and Labour return with a united front? Is it time for Sinn Féin or left-leaning groups to step up to the plate? Will Fianna Fáil be accepted back into the fold?

And what of the independents, who continue to enjoy a surge in support? Yesterday, a group seeking independent candidates to run in the Taoiseach’s home constituency of Mayo warned Kenny his seat is far from guaranteed.

The upcoming election, be it this year or next, will be one of the most difficult to predict in recent times.

Have you decided who you’re going to vote for?

Poll Results:

Sinn Féin (6166)
Independent/Other (4554)
Fine Gael (4276)
Fianna Fáil (2532)
Anti-Austerity Alliance (2321)
Labour (985)

The agenda

  • The Cabinet will have its weekly meeting at 10.30am.
  • With a deal for junior cycle reform seemingly no closer, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan will face questions in the Dáil at 2pm.
  • Enda Kenny will be answering his first Leaders’ Questions of the week at 3.15pm.
  • Representatives from trade unions Mandate, Unite and Siptu (1.45pm), as well as the Small Firms Association, will appear before the jobs committee to discuss low pay and the living wage (2.45pm).
  • The Seanad will debate plain packaging for cigarettes (4.45pm) and the NCT system (5pm).
  • TDs are set to discuss implementing the back-to-work family dividend, as outlined in Budget 2015, at about 5.30pm.
  • Today’s private members’ motion, proposed by Fianna Fáil, looks at helping mortgage holders who are in arrears. It will be debated at 7.30pm.

Inside Leinster House

Labour has said it will allow Anne Ferris back into the party – based on one condition. The Wicklow TD lost the Labour whip last month after voting in favour of Clare Daly’s bill to legislate for abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

Ferris will be allowed rejoin the party in the autumn provided she continues to support the government in Dáil votes. Labour passed a motion at its conference last weekend committing it to campaign for the repeal of the 8th Amendment.

What the others are saying

  • Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin wants to establish an open forum to consider pay, tax and overall spending priorities, according to the Irish Times.
  • The same paper reports that the UN refugee agency has expressed concerned over the amount of time asylum seekers spend in direct provision centres here.
  • The Irish Independent reports that Fine Gael and Labour are clashing over local government reform.

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In case you missed it

  • TheJournal.ie exclusively revealed that since 2013 the government has paid €4 million to firms linked to the tobacco industry.
  • Aodhan Ó Riordáin, the minister with responsibility for Direct Provision, said the “love affair” we have with incarcerating people in Ireland “has to end”.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan WILL march in the New York St Patrick’s Day parade.

Sinn Fein European Elections Campaigns Matt Carthy Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

  • Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy described Phil Hogan getting the better of him during the confirmation hearing for the former minister’s role as EU Agriculture Commissioner as “a kick in the backside“.
  • Tánaiste Joan Burton wasn’t exactly right in saying Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin voted for huge tax increases.

On the tweet machine

Several politicians are among those to appear in videos urging a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum.

Originally published: 9am

Read: What can Labour do to win back support?

Read: This is going to be the longest general election campaign in history

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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